Navigating the Sustainability Landscape: Insights from Rimm Sustainability's UK SME Survey

A Deep Dive into UK SME Sustainability - Explore the key findings from Rimm Sustainability's recent survey.
September 13, 2023
5 minutes

In the world of business, sustainability isn't just a trend; it's a fundamental shift in how companies operate. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are no exception to this global transformation. Recent research conducted by Rimm Sustainability, a renowned consultancy, has unveiled key insights into the sustainability landscape among British SMEs.

Published in August, this report sheds light on the growing emphasis on environmental sustainability within SMEs, despite the challenges posed by complex sustainability standards and frameworks. Let's dive into the seven key takeaways from this eye-opening study.

80% of UK SMEs Are Committed to Sustainability:

Perhaps the most significant revelation from the survey is that a staggering 80% of UK SMEs express a resounding commitment to sustainability. This statistic underscores a seismic shift in the mindset of SME decision-makers, who now see sustainability as not just a moral obligation but a strategic imperative for long-term success.

Half Report Sustainability Commitments to Stakeholders:

Transparency is at the heart of sustainability, and an increasing number of SMEs are realizing the importance of communicating their sustainability commitments to stakeholders. This not only builds trust with customers and partners but also demonstrates genuine dedication to ethical business practices. The SME sector is actively embracing this culture of transparency.

80% of SMEs Calculate Their Carbon Footprint:

Understanding your environmental impact is the first step toward reducing it. The survey reveals that 80% of SMEs are actively calculating their carbon footprint. This signifies a growing awareness of the environmental consequences of business operations and a commitment to measuring and minimizing their footprint.

1 in 3 SMEs in the UK Have a Dedicated Sustainability Manager:

Sustainability is a complex field, and many SMEs are recognizing the need for expertise in this area. One in three SMEs in the UK now has a dedicated sustainability manager. This highlights the increasing demand for sustainability professionals who can guide businesses on their sustainable journey.

Top 3 Pain Points in Sustainability:

While SMEs are committed to sustainability, they do face several challenges. The top three pain points identified in the survey are:

- Understanding What to Report (36%): SMEs grapple with the intricate web of sustainability frameworks, struggling to determine what exactly needs to be reported.

- Verifying Data (35%): Verification adds an extra layer of complexity for resource-constrained SMEs. Ensuring the accuracy of sustainability data is a significant concern.

High Prices for Sustainability Services (34%): The cost of sustainability services is a hurdle for many SMEs. Affordable sustainability solutions are in demand.


The findings from Rimm Sustainability's survey paint a picture of a dynamic SME landscape that is increasingly embracing sustainability. While challenges persist, the commitment to environmental responsibility is unwavering. SMEs are taking significant steps toward a greener future, demonstrating that sustainability isn't just for the corporate giants—it's a journey that all businesses, regardless of size, can embark on.